With less than two months left in the regular season, the Ottawa Senators still haven't settled on a starting goaltender. The New Jersey Devils haven't had that problem in 15 years.
|Martin Gerber should get the start tonight after Ray Emery allowed four third-period goals in Buffalo. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson)
Martin Gerber likely will get another chance to prove he is worthy of the No. 1 role on Wednesday night when the Senators visit the Devils.
Senators coach John Paddock has alternated between Gerber and Ray Emery recently, hoping one of them will seize control of the starting job.
Emery appeared to be doing that with two straight wins, including a 33-save performance in a 6-1 victory over Montreal on Saturday. He played well over the first two periods versus visiting Buffalo on Tuesday, but allowed four goals on 12 shots in the final 20 minutes in a 5-1 loss.
With games on consecutive nights, Gerber figures to be back in net Wednesday for Ottawa (34-19-4), which has lost four of its last six contests.
Gerber has failed to win in his last two starts, allowing seven goals on 54 shots. He is 3-0-1 with a 2.00 goals-against average, though, in his last four games against New Jersey (31-21-4).
The Senators are still five points ahead of Montreal in the Northeast Division, but have seen their lead in the Eastern Conference sliced to three points over Pittsburgh. The Canadiens travel to Florida while the Penguins play host to Boston on Wednesday.
Emery, though, wasn't the only Senator to struggle on Tuesday. The high-scoring line of Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza was held without a point after combining for 15 in Saturday's victory.
Cory Stillman and Mike Commodore - both acquired Monday from Carolina - made their Senators debuts against the Sabres. Stillman, who played on a line with Mike Fisher and Chris Neil, assisted on Randy Robitaille's second-period power-play goal.
"We got outplayed throughout the game," Alfredsson said. "I mean, they got 40 shots on us in our building and you're not going to win too many games when you give up as much as we did."
While goaltending remains an issue for Ottawa, New Jersey will surely start Martin Brodeur for a 16th straight game. Brodeur is in the midst of another outstanding season, ranking second in the league in wins (29) and fifth in GAA (2.19).
|Johnny Oduya (left) scores on Cam Ward Saturday night, part of a six-goal Devil barrage. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Brodeur had an easy game Saturday, stopping 22 shots in the Devils' 6-1 home victory over Carolina.
Paul Martin scored twice and fellow defensemen Colin White and Johnny Oduya also found the back of the net as New Jersey rebounded from back-to-back losses by matching its largest margin of victory this season.
"The locker room before the game was a lot livelier than it's been in a while," New Jersey captain Jamie Langenbrunner said. "You could tell we were focused and ready to go."
Devils leading scorer Zach Parise has gone three straight games without a point, one shy of his longest drought of the season. He has four goals and five assists in 10 career games against Ottawa.
The Senators have won both meetings this season against the Devils following a three-game skid in the series. New Jersey lost 4-1 to Ottawa on Oct. 27 in its first game at the Prudential Center after opening the season with a nine-game road trip that included a 4-2 loss to the Senators on Oct. 8.